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Merit America Awarded $10M Grant From Ascendium Education Group

Grant signals a huge vote of confidence in the organization's continued ability to scale and grow impact

Nonprofit workforce development organization Merit America today announced a three-year, $10 million grant from Ascendium Education Group. The grant was awarded to propel growth and impact, driving Merit America's mission to provide affordable upskilling programs and personalized career coaching to adults without college degrees, helping individuals secure in-demand, well-paying careers in tech.

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Ascendium has been supporting Merit America since 2021. The $10M grant is a tenfold increase from its initial grant of $900,000. The funding will be used to support Merit America in scaling its skills building and career placement programs. To date, Merit America has served over 3,700 learners and has driven an average annual wage gain of $19,000.

"Ascendium Education Group's backing has been game-changing for our nationwide scale," said Connor Diemand-Yauman, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Merit America. "For every dollar Ascendium is investing in our work, we'll put more than $20 into the pockets of hard working Americans nationwide. We are driving $1b in wage gains, which will translate into down-payments for homes, rainy day funds, or just a bit of breathing room for thousands of Americans stuck in low wage jobs."

The $10M investment will supplement Merit America's Google Career Certificates Fund, which was co-designed by Merit America in partnership with Google and Social Finance to support learners seeking Google Career Certificates. Merit America's ability to leverage the full potential of the Google Career Certificates Fund depends on additional philanthropic dollars to help cover operational costs, and Ascendium's increased investment will help accelerate the growth and the impact of Merit America's programming.

Ascendium's focus on giving low-income learners more opportunities for success and fostering systemic change aligns with Merit America's mission to tackle economic inequality through new pathways to the middle class. Recognizing Merit America as leaders in the alternative learning space and connecting in-demand talent with top employers, Ascendium is continuing to support both organization's missions through this significant grant.

"We couldn't be more excited about the expansion of our partnership with Merit America," said Carolynn Lee, Ascendium Senior Program Officer. "During the past year, Merit America has demonstrated a deep commitment to expanding opportunity for working adults stuck in low-wage jobs — a goal we share. Through one of Ascendium's most significant philanthropic awards to date, we're proud to help Merit America to reach sustainable, national scale and impact the lives of tens of thousands of workers through affordable, flexible, in-demand programs that lead to meaningful technology careers and increased wages."


Merit America is a national nonprofit preparing workers stuck in low-wage roles for family-sustaining tech careers at scale. Hailed by the New York Times as "the hybrid future of training programs for the disadvantaged," we offer fast and flexible training and job placement programs that work for working adults, and are aligned to the most in-demand roles in the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. Founded in 2018, we now serve thousands of working learners across the country with an average annual wage gain of nearly $19,000–on track to drive $1B in wage gains by 2024. For more information, visit


Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium's work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit

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